Back to School with our Artist Mentor Matthew Davison

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1. Could you say a little bit about your role at Performing Arts Workshop?  For example what you teach, where you teach, and what age you teach?

My title at The Workshop is Artist Mentor. I teach Creative Writing to people of all ages, but mostly to university students, both graduate and undergraduate.

2. How long have you been a teaching artist at the Workshop, and what first brought you to us?

8 years! I wanted to work with the GBLTQQ at LYRIC and I’d heard great things about The Workshop.

3. As a teaching artist, what’s your favorite thing about the beginning of a new school year?

The opportunity to share the power of the arts with people who may or may not yet know that they love the art form.

4. What are your goals for the 2013-14 school year?

One goal is to be more transparent with my students as to WHY I’m asking them to solve certain compositional challenges and HOW that might translate into the student meeting his or her own goal for a poem or story.

5. Do you have a favorite childhood back to school memory you could share?  Or, could you tell me what your favorite thing about going back to school was as a child?

Going back to school for me was always a bit traumatic as there wasn’t an emphasis on the arts, and because I was a nerdy and artistic kid, I didn’t fit in well. That said, I loved having a place to showcase whatever new shoes I’d purchased with money saved up from odd jobs I did in the neighborhood. That hasn’t changed. I still use the new school year as a place to wear my new shoes.

6. What was your experience with the arts like growing up, and how have the arts affected your life?

I didn’t get the chance to find out I was an artist until I was a teenager and had already left school.

7. What do you believe are the benefits of an arts education?

Critical thinking. A place for kids who aren’t only into academics and/or sports. An opportunity to be successful at something that champions originality rather than conformity. (To name a few of the thousands of benefits).

8. What’s your favorite art form?

Dance.

9. Do you have a favorite artist?

Yes. In every art form in every genre for every decade.

10. What artists have inspired you?

Right now I feel incredibly inspired by a highly-charged play called The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer. While political and rather confrontational, it is, in the end, a play about two brothers who love each other but can’t find a way to express it.

11. Any hobbies you’d like to share?

I can jump rope like a boxer and do excellent handstands.

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